White House adviser Jared Kushner sees others joining circle of peace
Israeli delegation arrives on August 31 for talks on full normalisation of relations
White House adviser Jared Kushner on Sunday trumpeted the recent agreement by the UAE and Israel to establish diplomatic relations as a historic breakthrough and said "the stage is set" for other Arab states to follow suit, but he gave no indication that any new deals were imminent.
Appearing alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien, Kushner spoke a day before he is to join a senior Israeli delegation on the first commercial flight from Israel to the UAE. The flight holds great symbolic value and is a key step in what is expected to be full normalisation between Israel and the UAE.
"Today obviously we celebrate a historic breakthrough for peace," Kushner said, adding that the deal will create "previously unthinkable" economic, security and religious cooperation.
"While this peace agreement was thought by many to be impossible, the stage is now set for even more," he said, claiming he has heard optimism throughout the region since the deal was announced.
"We must seize that optimism and we must continue to push to make this region achieve the potential that it truly has," said Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and chief Mideast adviser.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the agreement with the UAE would bring "unbridled" trade and opportunities.
"You will see how the sparks fly," he said.
"If we have to wait for the Palestinians, we will have to wait forever," Netanyahu said. "As more Arab and Muslim countries join the circle of peace, the Palestinians will eventually understand their veto has dissipated and they will be hard pressed to stay outside the community of peace."
Israel and the UAE have moved quickly to cement their ties over the past two weeks. Almost immediately, they opened direct phone lines, and cabinet ministers have held friendly phone conversations.
On Saturday, the UAE formally ended its commercial boycott of Israel. Monday's flight of an El Al plane from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi will be the first known flight of an Israeli commercial airliner from Israel to the Emirates. The two Mideast countries are expected to sign a formal agreement at the White House in the coming weeks.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo toured the region last week, stopping in Sudan, Bahrain and Oman - three countries widely seen as candidates to establish ties with Israel.
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